There’s no doubt that the food system is broken. More than 1 billion people are obese, nearly 1 billion people go to bed hungry every night, and at least 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. We need solutions—from schools and hospitals to fields and forests and from boardrooms to parliaments. Food Tank: The Food Think Tank [www.FoodTank.org], founded by food and agriculture experts Ellen Gustafson and Danielle Nierenberg, is a bold new voice in bringing attention to these crucial issues. Food Tank, which launches on January 10, will help propel change by fostering the growing community of voices on food issues. Watch the trailer here: www.FoodTank.org.
Co-founders Gustafson and Nierenberg each have a vast network of followers and bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to Food Tank: The Food Think Tank. On January 10, their highly anticipated and latest endeavor will be marked with the launch of the Food Tank website (www.FoodTank.org). The site will be a heavily interactive global resource for food and agriculture related issues and a home base for connecting those involved in the food system, from producers and consumers to policy-makers and activists.
Roughly a half-century after the Green Revolution—the first systematic, large-scale attempt to reduce poverty and hunger throughout the world—a large share of the human family is still chronically without food, reliable income, and access to education. And over the last 30 years, the western food system has been built to promote over-consumption of a few consolidated commodities and has failed to be the harbinger of health as it spreads around the world. The epidemic of obesity, in industrialized and developing countries alike, is increasing the risks of diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, and other maladies.
In addition, we waste vast amounts of food—more than one third of all food worldwide is wasted, or 1.3 billion tons annually. In the developing world, roughly 40 percent of all food goes to waste as a result of pests, disease, and improper storage.
Food Tank is planning a 2013 Change the Food System summit, conducting on-the-ground research both domestically and internationally, preparing research reports and books, highlighting road maps for sustainable agricultural systems, and building an innovations database. And the Food Tank website will be posting new research and insights daily.
If we start now, there is an opportunity to develop a better vision for the global food system. Fixing the system requires changing the conversation and finding ways that make food production—and consumption—more economically, environmentally, and socially just and sustainable.
The solutions, both big and small, are out there—in market garden projects in rural Niger, on rooftop gardens in Vietnam, at research institutes in Taiwan, and in individual communities all over the world. Unfortunately, these projects are not getting the attention and the investment they need. This needs to change. Food Tank: the Food Think Tank, launching January 10, is prepared to take on that challenge!
About the founders:
Ellen Gustafson is a sustainable food system activist, innovator and social entrepreneur. Ellen was the Founder and Executive Director of the 30 Project, a think + do tank changing the conversation about the global food system by connecting hunger and obesity. The 30 Project brought together key organizations and activists working around the world on addressing hunger, obesity, and agriculture issues to talk about their visions for the food system’s future. She also co-founded FEED Projects, LLC and its corresponding non-profit foundation which has provided over 60 million school meals to children around the world through the sale of tote bags that promote the mission. Ellen is currently working on a book with Rodale Press tentatively entitled We the Eaters.
Danielle Nierenberg is an expert on sustainable agriculture and food issues. She recently spent two years traveling to more than 35 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia looking at environmentally sustainable ways of alleviating hunger and poverty. Her knowledge of global agriculture issues has been cited widely in more than 3,000 major publications including The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the International Herald Tribune, The Washington Post, BBC, the Guardian (UK), the Mail and Guardian (South Africa), the East African (Kenya), TIME magazine, Reuters, Agence France Presse, Voice of America, the Times of India, and other major publications. Danielle worked for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and also currently serves as the food security adviser for Citizen Effect, an NGO focused on sustainable development projects worldwide.